February 14, 2022

Strong Representation by Vermont’s Sporting Community During Committee Hearing

Contact: Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States

Why it Matters: State fish and wildlife agency boards and commissions have instrumental roles in setting the frameworks that result in the successful conservation and management of a state’s fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Sportsmen and women (including hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and trappers) have played a crucial role in funding conservation efforts in the United States for over 80 years. The American System of Conservation Funding, a “user pays – public benefits” structure in which those who consumptively use public resources pay for the privilege, and in some cases the right to do so, has served a shining beacon for the management of fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Legislative efforts that restrict their pursuits, such as leghold trapping bans and prohibiting the use of dogs while coyote hunting, have the potential to thwart much-needed financial support away from state fish and wildlife agencies.

On February 10, CSF testified during a virtual hearing held by the Vermont Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. CSF spoke in ardent opposition to three anti-sportsmen’s bills, S. 129, S. 201, and S. 281 – all of which threaten the continuation of the state’s sporting traditions and undermine the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s authority.

During the hearing, the Committee received an outpouring of opposition from the sporting community. In-state sportsmen and organizations, such as the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, weighed-in by emphasizing the negative outcomes that would result should either of anti-sportsmen’s policies be implemented. Despite claims from those who wish to undermine Vermont’s sporting traditions, sportsmen and women in the Green Mountain State generated over $7.5 million for conservation in 2021 alone through hunting and fishing license sales.   

CSF will continue to oppose restrictive, anti-sportsmen’s policies, such as S. 129, S. 201, and S. 281, wherever they may arise. Additional updates on these three bills will be provided as they are made available.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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